Fresno Retirement Advisor News: Beware of Coronavirus Scams

After a press conference in which President Trump mentioned scientists were testing the potential of using disinfectants as a coronavirus cure, poison control centers across the country reported a spike in calls. In Maryland alone, the Emergency Management Agency fielded more than 100 calls asking about the president’s suggestion. In less than 24 hours of the briefing, the poison control center in New York City responded to more than 30 cases in which people were exposed to disinfectant as a possible treatment.1 

The most important thing to remember in a crisis situation is to seek out credible, vetted information. It is unfortunate that the president’s mere observation of an untested theory was misinterpreted by so many people living in fear of having COVID-19. And yet, the need to verify information and advice goes for any crisis, and even when the crisis is over. Please remember that we are here for you to provide guidance and the most up-to-date information for your insurance needs. 

Be aware that the disinfectant snafu isn’t the only type of misinformation out there. Ever since the start of the pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports there has been a dramatic increase in cyberattacks and email scams targeting the public at large. In fact, there are even fraudsters impersonating the WHO itself, sending emails requesting donations to a fictitious fund that’s supposed to help respond to the virus.2 

The most prominent coronavirus-themed campaign has been aimed at people in Japan. Emails appearing to be from a Japanese disability welfare provider contain a leading malware called Emotet. Recipients are encouraged to open an attached document to learn in what areas the infection is spreading the fastest. Once opened, Emotet can automatically download onto their computers.3 

Other scams include fraudulent websites that claim to help you work from home, emails selling products that claim to prevent the disease, fake test kits for sale and even scammers taking advantage of the market decline, promising “safe” investments to “get rich quick.”4 There is even a COVID-19 blackmail scheme in which scammers threaten to infect victims with the coronavirus if they don’t pay a ransom upfront.5 

Another recent fraud has successfully scammed people out of money after they called a phone number they thought was the IRS to check on when they’d receive their Economic Impact Payment. The IRS has issued a warning about these scams, cautioning people not to give out any personal or banking information or sign over their Economic Impact Payment check to someone else.6 

Because these scam artists move quickly and focus on the biggest fears of the day, the government and other regulatory agencies have not had enough time to track them down or prevent them from preying on consumers. It is very important, especially during this stressful time, that everyone be hyper-vigilant about opening suspect emails or clicking on links making an offer that sounds too be good to be true. Remember, if there is a cure or effective treatment or even a vaccine, you will hear about it from your local television news station and read about it in your local newspaper. 

Be sure to follow advice and information from only reliable sources about COVID-19 and other health issues. 

Fresno Retirement Advisor Takeaways 

Fresno financial planning is our utmost concern here at Soutas Financial and we thought these takeaways were worth mentioning again. The most important thing to remember in a crisis situation is to seek out credible, vetted information. And yet, the need to verify information and advice goes for any crisis, and even when the crisis is over. Ever since the start of the pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports there has been a dramatic increase in cyberattacks and email scams targeting the public at large. The most prominent coronavirus-themed campaign has been aimed at people in Japan. It is very important, especially during this stressful time, that everyone be hyper-vigilant about opening suspect emails or clicking on links making an offer that sounds too be good to be true. 

Diversifying your retirement assets among a variety of vehicles and alternatives—both insurance and investment oriented, depending on what is appropriate for your situation—may offer you a better chance of meeting your retirement income goals throughout your lifespan. We help our clients with the following…risk management and strategic wealth management strategies to help accomplish those goals. 

Soutas Financial & Insurance Solutions Inc. your Fresno retirement plan consultant is committed to helping take the complexity out of retirement planning. By using a variety of insurance and investment products such as trusts, probates, charitable giving, estate planning, or tax-efficient strategies, we can help you develop an overall retirement income strategy specific to you and your family. We have a strong team of professionals helping ensure you receive all the assistance you need not only in developing your retirement income strategy, but in maintaining it throughout your retirement. Contact us today at 559-230-1648 or visit us today at Soutas Financial to get your retirement plans on track for success! 

Other Fresno Financial Advisor Articles 

Soutas Financial & Insurance Solutions Inc. 
333 W. Shaw Avenue Suite 106
Fresno, CA 93704 
(559) 230-1648 
Soutas.com 

Content prepared by Kara Stefan Communications. 

1 Peter Aitken. Fox News. April 26, 2020. “States see spike in poison control calls following Trump’s comments on injecting disinfectant.” https://www.foxnews.com/us/states-spike-poison-control-calls. Accessed April 30, 2020. 

2 World Health Organization. April 23, 2020. “WHO reports fivefold increase in cyber attacks, urges vigilance.” https://www.who.int/news-room/detail/23-04-2020-who-reports-fivefold-increase-in-cyber-attacks-urges-vigilance. Accessed April 30, 2020. 

3 Check Point Software Technologies. “January 2020’s Most Wanted Malware: Coronavirus-themed spam spreads malicious Emotet malware.” https://blog.checkpoint.com/2020/02/13/january-2020s-most-wanted-malware-coronavirus-themed-spam-spreads-malicious-emotet-malware/. Accessed April 30, 2020. 

4 James Royal. Bankrate.com. April 17, 2020. “3 types of coronavirus scams to watch out for.” https://www.bankrate.com/personal-finance/common-coronavirus-scams-to-watch-out-for/. Accessed April 30, 2020. 

5 Lachlan Cartwright. The Daily Beast. April 29, 2020. “Cyberscammers: Pay Up or We’ll Infect Your Family With Coronavirus.” https://www.thedailybeast.com/new-coronavirus-scam-threatenspay-up-or-well-infect-your-family-with-covid-19. Accessed April 30, 2020. 

6 Bryant Maddrick. KSHB-NBC News. April 30, 2020. “Couple warns of stimulus scams after reportedly losing hundreds of dollars.” https://www.kshb.com/news/coronavirus/couple-warns-of-stimulus-scams-after-reportedly-losing-hundreds-of-dollars. Accessed April 30, 2020. 

Our firm is not affiliated with the U.S. government or any governmental agency. 
 
We are an independent firm helping individuals create retirement strategies using a variety of insurance products to custom suit their needs and objectives. This material is intended to provide general information to help you understand basic retirement income strategies and should not be construed as financial advice. Investment advisory services offered only by duly registered individuals through AE Wealth Management, LLC (AEWM). AEWM and Soutas Financial & Insurance Solutions, Inc are not affiliated companies. California Insurance License # OK48173 
 
The information contained in this material is believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed; it is not intended to be used as the sole basis for financial decisions. Investing involves risk, including possible loss of principal. Insurance product guarantees are backed by the financial strength and claims-paying ability of the issuing company. Diversification cannot ensure a profit or guarantee against losses in a declining market. If you are unable to access any of the news articles and sources through the links provided in this text, please contact us to request a copy of the desired reference. 659682 – 6/20